Bicentennial Celebration

Program Information

Program: Virginia’s Lewis and Clark: Roots of a Legacy
Segment Number: 5 (Watch entire program)
Duration: 00:03:42
Year Produced: 2003
Description:

Captain Meriwether Lewis left the nation's capital with Jefferson's letter of instructions and three generations of dreams of western exploration. He then met with fellow Virginian William Clark, and together they led the corps of volunteers on an expedition of northwestern discovery.

Meriwether Lewis was born in what is now Albemarle County, and William Clark’s family had roots in Albemarle soil. Their ideas of what lay beyond the Mississippi River were nurtured by Thomas Jefferson, a “vicarious westerner” who had never traveled farther west than Hot Springs. Jefferson intended to establish the United States as a continental nation, an “Empire of Liberty” that reached from Atlantic to Pacific. To further his goal, Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark’s Expedition of North Western Discovery. Their remarkable mission began here in central Virginia.

For more information visit: http://ideastations.org/lc

Transcript

NARRATOR:

Only July 4th, President Jefferson and his secretary participated in the festivities of the day in Washington. The next morning, Captain Meriwether Lewis left the nation's capital with Jefferson's letter of instructions and three generations of dreams of western exploration. He then met with fellow Virginian William Clark, and together they led the corps of volunteers on an expedition of northwestern discovery.

As Jefferson wrote on the eve of the expedition, "we shall delineate with correctness the great arteries of this great country. Those who come after us will fill up the canvas we begin." In the two hundred years since he sent his confidential letter to Congress, Jefferson's vision of a "rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye" has indeed come true.

KAT IMHOFF (C.O.O. Thomas Jefferson Foundation):

We know more today about the results of Lewis & Clark than President Jefferson ever had the advantage of. And so in some ways Lewis & Clark has become more important historically than it was in Jefferson's lifetime and certainly in the years that followed Jefferson.

We were really fortunate at Monticello to have the opportunity to be selected as the kick-off event for the Lewis & Clark commemoration.

(LEWIS & CLARK BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION AT MONTICELLO)

DAN JORDAN (President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation):

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Monticello, where the journey began, and to the official commencement of the national Lewis & Clark bicentennial commemoration.

DAYTON DUNCAN (Author & Documentary Filmmaker):

Across the divide of two centuries the story of Lewis & Clark still speaks to us today. We can find inspiration in their perseverance and courage. We can applaud and perhaps even try to emulate their bond of friendship and community. And each day we can still learn something personally from Lewis & Clark. Every day is a day of discovery.

KAT IMHOFF (C.O.O. Thomas Jefferson Foundation):

What was really interesting about this entire process is that this was not a commemoration or event or a single activity, it was really for us a community experience.

(SCENES FROM COMMEMORATION RECEPTION AT UVA'S NEWCOMB HALL)

In a way it was a wonderful opportunity for all of us to really get to know one another and to work together. And we have a better sense of our own history and where we want to go in the future.

Lewis & Clark is an opportunity for us to really embrace our history more fully. For me personally, the biggest lessons learned are re-familiarizing myself, or learning for the first time in most cases, about the tribes.

(MONACAN NATION MUDDY CREEK DRUM GROUP PERFORMANCE)